Al Franken’s lawyers may well have just had a very productive day, netting a good chunk of votes for their side.
Franken attorney Kevin Hamilton was questioning Duluth elections director Jeffrey Cox today, and they went through over 30 rejected absentee ballots that fit solidly into one category: Ballots where the voter and the witness signed the envelope with different dates marked down. Most counties had actually included these ballots — though Duluth did not — and the judges themselves have now ruled this type of vote to have been valid.
Ballot after ballot, Cox confirmed that this had been the only reason these votes were rejected, and that in his judgment there was no other defect. It was also confirmed that these ballots were going to be counted during the review process this past December, but were vetoed by the Coleman campaign under the state Supreme Court’s controversial decision that gave the campaigns this power.
Since Duluth is heavily Democratic to begin with, and the general assumption is that both sides are advocating for votes that are for themselves (and were vetoing ballots believed to be for the other guy) this means Franken could very well have just gained over 30 votes, padding his official 225-vote lead to a landslide margin of…255, plus a handful of other Franken ballots that the court is prepared to count.
For his part, Coleman lawyer Joe Friedberg used his cross-examination period to further go over the fact that mistakes have been made in the election, as part of the new Coleman push to have the whole result thrown out. Hamilton countered by having Cox affirm that the city is thorough in its training and procedures, and that mistakes are inevitable — that is, demanding a perfect election is to demand the impossible.In other news, lead Franken lawyer Marc Elias said during his post-court press conference that the numbers are coming in on the number of 3-A ballots found, another category of ballots that could potentially be counted after the localities searched for them after a court order last week.
As it turns out, the amount of 3-A’s found is likely to be less than 100, Elias said, though firm numbers aren’t yet available: “As we suspected all along, it’s not going to be a huge number.”
As I’ve noted before, it’s unclear who will benefit from those votes, though it seems more likely to work out in Franken’s favor. But either way, it appears it won’t have much of an impact at all.